Guyana’s senior women’s national team – the Lady Jags – have advanced to the final four of the Caribbean Football Union leg of the 2016 Olympic Qualifiers, after Cuba could’ve only managed to defeat St Kitts and Nevis by a 6 – 0 scoreline, and are now just one win away from playing at the CONCACAF 2016 Olympic Qualifying Championship.
The ‘Lady Jags’ in their first game, placed in Group Four in the Dominican Republic, hammered St Kitts and Nevis 8 – 0 but drew their game with Cuba 1 – 1.
It meant that the Guyanese women had to hope that Cuba don’t score more than eight goals against St Kitts and Nevis and as faith would have it, the Cubans were not able to overcome the huge task and the Lady Jags advanced to the next round on superior goal difference.
In the final round, scheduled to be played between October 2 – 4 and hosted by one of the teams in the final round, the four teams will play a single-elimination tournament.
The two finalists and the winner of the third place match will qualify for the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship as CFU representatives.
Should the Lady Jags finish within the top three, they will face the likes of USA, Canada, Mexico and two representatives from the Central American region.
Meanwhile, Head Coach Mark Rodrigues said that the Lady Jags advancing is huge for the future development of women’s football in Guyana.
According to Rodrigues, “with the launch of the women’s league just around the corner, the advancement of the Lady Jags to the Caribbean Championships can be viewed as a huge catalyst to motivate female players in Guyana to start or continue playing”.
“With the limited preparation time afforded the team, it’s a very pleasant surprise to already experience success. The next round will be even more challenging and the coaching staff will have to find a way to have another minicamp prior to competition” Rodrigues added.
Reflecting on the tournament, the Florida based head coach pointed out that his team’s biggest shortfall in the Dominican Republic was simply fitness.
“We were relatively solid tactically but need to spend more time on our fitness, set pieces and functional play” Rodrigues said while adding “even though we won the group, we were by far the best team in the group. Eliminating Cuba once again was very rewarding, and we congratulate St. Kitts on their brave effort to improve with every game. Their program has advanced significantly as well, especially with their injection of more international players”
The Lady Jags coach pointed out that that his players were very disappointed that they didn’t leave the Dominican Republic with two wins thereby not putting themselves and the country through the agony of awaiting a result from the Cuba/St. Kitts game.
A couple of other high level players could be added to squad for the next round, according to Rodrigues, who further said he’s “happy to see my country achieve success on the international stage once again, and I hope that we (the GFF) use and cultivate that success even more for the amazing kids of our country and keep it sustained in the future”